What are outbound links? These are links on your website that point to external domains but question is, are outbound links good for SEO? This a very common question and am going to answer it in various perspectives. My answer to this is a YES, outbound links are very good for SEO and to some extent will impact positively on your blog’s authority and raking. Adding a no follow attribute to an outbound link shows Google that you don’t trust the site which partly answers our question, only nofollow links that point to sites you don’t trust, sites with malware and low quality sites.

Just like a few other top SEO sites, Search Engine Journal also claims outbound links have positive effects on SEO except you should only link to authority sites. A good example of an authority site is Wikipedia, linking to it shows Google that their content is relevant, superior and related to yours which might in turn rank your web page better. It’s more of a win-win scenario but the site your are passing authority to probably gains more compared to you.

I have also come across an assumption claiming adding no follow attributes to outbound links affects your web page rank to some extent. When you nofollow an outbound link, your webpage doesn’t pass any authority to the web page you are pointing to and this is where the page rank theory comes in. The assumption makes it clear that the page rank on both pages evaporates which is more like a lose-lose scenario. I personally don’t believe this because i have seen several pages with a number of nofollowed outbound links rank well on Search Engine.

Good practices for adding Outbound links

You can do follow outbound links on your webpages but it doesn’t mean you should go around linking to almost every site out there. You shouldn’t give out links easily unless you really have to. The sites you link to matter a lot because they will either hurt your SEO or strengthen it. Consider some of these points before adding do follow outbound links on your web page.

  • Only link to Authority sites. You should only give out links to authority sites with high page ranks but still, you shouldn’t give out too many links to a single site. Dropping a link or two on a few occasions will work just fine.
  • Avoid adding too many links on a web page. Always try and limit the number of outbound links in your content else your web page might not rank. Adding many links means writing more content implicating you have to write more if you want to add a good number of links in your content.
  • Open links in blank browser tabs. Configure outbound links to open in new browser tabs by adding the target=”_blank” HTML attribute to them. This prevents you from losing visitors from your site because the external web page opens in a new browser tab and your site remains on it’s own tab. While i encourage you to open links in blank browser tabs, this might be annoying especially to mobile users who are not conversant with switching between tabs on their mobile browsers. They will expect to hit the back button and get back on your site but if they can’t get back, some may lose trust in your blog.
  • No follow low quality sites. Do following low quality sites will not only pass authority to them but may also hurt your SEO. These may be poorly coded sites, sites infected with malware, sites that violate Google terms of service and more. If you feel you should link to one try and no follow the outbound link.
  • No follow Affiliate links. If you monetize your blog with affiliate marketing you have to no follow links of affiliate products to prevent your content from looking spammy. If you are using WordPress to power your site then some plugins should help you manage affiliate links easily. These plugins will help you cloak your links, no follow them and open them in new browser tabs with ease.

Having too many do followed outbound links on your site is bad for your SEO. You have to try and limit the number of links you do follow else your site might look spammy especially to bots and besides, you could also be losing a lot of visitors by referring them to other sites. Like said earlier, only do follow links that point to authority sites. No following outbound links that point to low quality sites is part of keeping a clean SEO structure.

On this blog i hardly give out links but i do link to a few Authority sites plus some of my sites. You can share with us your experience as well. How do you handle outbound links on your blog? Do you no follow them or do follow them?